This past week I attended a cybercrime investigator conference in Madrid, Spain that brought together global law enforcement. The conference provided a good opportunity to listen to the views on cybercrime of different country’s law enforcement.
Global cooperation continues to be the main focus of need and concern among global law enforcement. Cybercriminal attacks move freely across international borders. Success against these attacks can only be achieved thru international cooperation. The good news is that there is successful cooperation occurring. Many police this week discussed helpful assistance they receive from global colleagues in their cases. Unfortunately, police also told stories of frustration when dealing with police in some countries that are frequent sources of cybercrime activity. Improving assistance and providing meaningful data about suspects remains a significant need for police. It is extremely frustrating to track a criminal to a country, only to have that suspect hide behind an international border that is outside the jurisdiction of the foreign police tracking the suspect.
Understanding technology also remains a concern for global investigators. New devices and complex attacks by cybercriminals can stretch the technical capabilities of investigators. It is easy to become frustrated with the constantly changing technology landscape. Some investigators this week even suggested that new technology be ignored because there will be something else “new” tomorrow. Others expressed a wish that they could build a wall against cyber attacks. Of course, neither of these ideas is an option for success. Technology does change, but ignoring its impact on citizens is not an effective solution. Some technology, such as social networking, may change popular platforms over time, but the idea of social networking remains a part of modern culture. Building walls against technology is also a failed solution. It is easy to understand police frustration with criminals who originate attacks from foreign countries. However building barriers against new technology only denies the public the benefits of technology because a few abuse it. Technology is not bad because some people use it for bad purposes.
Finally, on a positive note, police expressed optimism that in fighting cybercrime they have good industry partners that can sometimes help. If a crime is committed in a public park, the police must depend on their own resources. However, cyberspace is a connected matrix of “parts” owned or controlled by various persons. These “owners” include legitimate businesses and persons who often help law enforcement in cases. This provides an opportunity for law enforcement to work with these friendly partners for assistance in the shared goal of stopping cybercrime.